Roots on the Rails Roots on the Rails

Upcoming Trips: Fred Eaglesmith - Denali

Fred Eaglesmith. A bus. 100 miles on a dirt road into the Alaskan back country. What could possibly go wrong?

September 8-13, 2017

Anchorage to Denali National Park and return with Fred Eaglesmith, Tif Ginn, Gurf Morlix and Mary Gauthier.

Join Fred Eaglesmith and Friends and head north to Alaska and the heart of the last frontier - Denali National Park! Six million acres of wild land, bisected by one 92-mile ribbon of road. And this road less traveled (all but the first few miles are gravel, and forbidden to private automobile) will be our road.

Our group - numbering no more than fifty hardy souls - will journey to Denali from Anchorage, via Talkeetna (inspiration for Northern Exposure, and home to honorary mayor Stubbs The Cat). From the Taiga forest at the Park entrance through high alpine tundra and snowy mountains, alongside North America's tallest peak, 20,320' Denali, to our destination - the end of the road. And there, at the final milepost, lies the legendary Kantishna Roadhouse. A small restaurant and pub, a handful of cabins, power supplied by generator. It's all ours for two nights. No cell phone, no internet, no road beyond the Roadhouse - beyond is simply wilderness.

Wild animals large and small roam the unfenced horizon, living as they have for millennia. Solitude, tranquility and wilderness await.

And, oh yes, there will be music. Fred Eaglesmith. Mary Gauthier. Tif Ginn. Gurf Morlix. Amazing song craft, interspersed with any number of lengthy opinions. Side-splitting stories and cringe-inducing jokes. We have been working with Fred Eaglesmith since our very first Roots on the Rails trip in 2003, and every trip has been memorable.

The first night kicks off with a concert in Anchorage, then to tiny Talkeetna for a very intimate show, and then, at the Roadhouse, an entirely unplugged evening event. This will be a concert experience like no other; imagine the hush; the music inside - outside the immensity of the Alaskan wilderness at night.

Chartered motorcoach Anchorage to Talkeetna to Denali Park. Then a bumpy but unforgettably great bus ride inside the Park itself to the Roadhouse. We save the best for last - upon our exit from the park we board Alaska Railroad’s famed Gold Star Service with open viewing decks and wraparound windows from Denali back to Anchorage.

Our feeling is that, for most travelers, a trip to Denali is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so why not do it right?

This trip is not cheap, but it far exceeds the standard Denali tour experience. Music aside, most travelers stay at hotels along the highway, and take tours that go perhaps a dozen miles into the park, then return. Our trip goes all the way in. We have run this trip twice before, with Cowboy Junkies and Over The Rhine, and we have never for a moment regretted our choice to journey to the place the road ends.

En route during past trips we have seen foraging grizzlies, enormous moose, eagles, caribou and myriad other wildlife. Once at the Roadhouse, we've gone on guided hikes (easy, moderate or strenuous as you wish), marveled at the enormity of Denali itself (some took small-plane rides over Denali’s flank); others went horseback riding, fly fishing or gold panning. In 2015 we were treated to the rare sight of an entirely cloudless Denali - an utterly stunning vision. 

If you wish to stay an additional night or two in Anchorage and continue your Alaskan adventure on your own, we are happy to book additional nights for you at our group rate, just advise of your needs upon making a reservation.

We hope you’ll join us.


FRED EAGLESMITH - Remarkable songcraft, deadpan humor and an unparalleled ability to use the internal combustion engine as metaphor. The John Prine of Southern Ontario, Fred Eaglesmith has toured every back road in North America relentlessly for over 30 years in a series of unreliable buses. It will be interesting to see how it goes with him as a passenger in one for a change.

TIF GINN - As sultry singer, evocative songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (accordion, bass, mandolin), Texan Tif Ginn's musicality runs deep. Her fashion sense runs to the spectacular. We doubt the Alaska landscape will ever be the same.

GURF MORLIX - Buffalo-born, Texas bred, Gurf Morlix has released nine solo albums with a decidedly arched-eyebrow take on the world. He produced Lucinda Williams eponymous breakthrough disc. He has recorded with everyone from Blaze Foley to Warren Zevon, and his first trip with Roots on the Rails was the legendary Polar Bear Train of 2008. And he can play the heck out of any instrument you put in front of him. 

MARY GAUTHIER - She sings truth. She writes truth. A spectacular songwriter with a tangled past and an unflinching worldview, Mary Gauthier will make you weep. Her song “Mercy Now” is a modern classic, and the rest ain’t so bad, either.


Friday, 8 September
Afternoon check-in to the Sheraton Anchorage. Evening concert.

Saturday, 9 September
We board our chartered motorcoach for the two and a half hour trip to Talkeetna. We pass through Wasilla enroute, though, to date, no Palins have been sighted. Talkeetna was the inspiration for the television show “Northern Exposure.” There will be time to explore, get settled into our excellent hotel, the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, go for a hike and have dinner. There will either be a concert in town or a private show in front of the fireplace at the hotel.

Sunday, 10 September
We depart Talkeetna in the morning and travel a little over three hours up the stunningly scenic George Parks Highway to the entrance of Denali Park. Here we transfer to the bus that will carry us 92 miles to the end of the road. During our travel to and from the Kantishna Roadhouse we will have excellent opportunities to see wildlife in their natural habitat. The height of the bus and its large sliding windows provide the perfect viewing platform as we journey through the Park (we cribbed this language from the Roadhouse. Don’t be fooled - it’s a glorified school bus). The Driver/Guides are expert wildlife spotters and will stop the bus whenever an animal or view of Mt. Denali comes into range. Binoculars and cameras will be put to great use as we enjoy the amazing landscapes and animals. Arrival at the Roadhouse will be in time for dinner (included). There is a cozy pub just steps away from the dining room.

Monday, 11 September
The day is free to enjoy as you wish. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided. Guided hikes leave the Roadhouse each morning – choose a two hour walk or take a bag lunch and hike for up to six hours. Whether a beginner, intermediate or advanced trekker, the Park is yours to explore on foot and learn about the wildlife and flora of the Kantishna Hills from one of the experienced Naturalist Guides. Mountain bikes and helmets are available for those wishing to explore the old mining roads in the area. Try catch-and-release fly fishing for Arctic Grayling along Moose Creek (hip boots and both fly and spinning rods are available for guest use). Take in the Alaskan sled-dog team presentation, or arrange for a scenic flight. The long day allows one to enjoy activities while still leaving plenty of time to relax and just soak up the area's beauty and tranquility. If you want to plan your own excursion, ask a guide for maps and recommendations – they are always happy to assist. That evening, after dinner, settle back for an all-acoustic private show.

Tuesday, 12 September
It wouldn't be a Roots on the Rails trip without at least one train involved, and after we depart the Roadhouse and return to the Park entrance, we board the Alaska Railroad's Denali Star for the return trip to Anchorage. Moose, bear, abundant waterfowl and even wolves are often spotted from the open-air observation deck. We'll enjoy a full dinner on board, and arrive back in Anchorage at 8:00 pm, where we head to our hotel for the night.

Wednesday, 13 September
Hotel checkout and return home (additional nights at our group rate are available with advance notice). Kenai Peninsula trip to begin this evening with Anchorage show.

As with any dynamic event this far out, details may change. Should there be a substantial alteration to the itinerary after sign-up, or if the price increases, you will have a week-long window of notification in which you may cancel with no penalty.

Sign up today, by e-mailing Sarah at, by calling 866-484-3669 (toll-free in the US & Canada) .


$3,889.00 per person for five nights hotel (shared room), public and private concerts as listed, chartered motorcoach, Denali Park tour, Kantishna Roadhouse activities (Narrated 92-mile trip park entrance to Roadhouse, all meals and programs at Roadhouse), Denali Star first-class "Gold Star" train service and dinner enroute. Airfare to/from Alaska, gratuities and other transfers not included.


We offer a few payment options for cost savings and convenience.
1.) Pay in one lump sum through our online store and receive maximum savings ($3689 per person).
2.) Pay your $300 per person deposit through our online store to reserve your spot, then within 30 days:
        A. Pay your remaining balance ($3589 per person) through our online store
       -Or -
        B. Contact Sarah at or 802-258-1397 to set up a convenient monthly credit card draw.

Solo travelers will be paired with another same-gender traveler for double occupancy of hotel rooms. 
Supplement for solo travelers wishing private hotel room all nights: $750.00 - purchase by clicking here. 

Credit cards (Visa, MC, Amex) and checks accepted. $300 per person non-refundable deposit must be paid within 7 days of sign-up in order to hold space. Payment plans at no additional charge are happily accommodated. Payment plan must be agreed upon and set up within 30 days of sign-up. Payments outside of deposit, and less 3% credit card fees if applicable, are refundable until 60 days prior to event. Reservations are transferable. Liability release signature required.

Sign up today, by e-mailing Roots on the Rails at, by calling 866-484-3669 (toll free in the US & Canada) or 802-258-1397.


We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance for your trip. By purchasing through this link to Squaremouth (an aggregator where various insurance company policies can be compared at no additional cost to you), we receive a small commission (about five percent). This helps us keep our trips as affordable as possible.

Anchorage has frequent, reasonably priced jet service to the Lower 48. For those wishing to extend their trip, additional hotel nights in Anchorage (or, if you wish to leave the group, stay additional nights at Kantishna, and travel on your own back to Anchorage) are available.

We recommend the services of Lisa Timmons of United Nations Travel to help with travel arrangements. For a nominal fee, she will arrange your travel by air or water. You may reach Lisa by calling 800-234-8685 or emailing


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